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article imageBacteriophages could combat secondary COVID-19 infections

By Tim Sandle     Sep 11, 2020 in Science
New research suggests that bacteriophage therapy could counteract the risk of secondary bacterial infections, which affect some patients with weakened immune systems after being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
A study undertaken at the University of Birmingham, U.K.,has established that the virus that infects bacteria (bacteriophages) has the potential to be harnessed to overcome bacterial infections in patients who are immunocompromised by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19).
Bacteriophages are naturally found in every environment where bacteria are found, including the human gut (where their role may be connected to gut metabolism). Research has been on-going for over eighty years into using phages to treat bacterial infections.
The basis of the research is with using bacteriophages to target secondary bacterial infections in those patients who have suffered with respiratory system damage. Such secondary infections arise with many elderly patients who have suffered from COVID-19. The objective of the study was to assess how well bacteriophages could be used to lower the population of pathogenic bacteria and reduce the opportunity to grow. This would assist patients with recovering.
A secondary application is where patients have COVID-19 and are at risk from a bacterial infection. This is to create conditions that will allow a patients' immune system time to generate the antibodies necessary against SARS-CoV-2.
The outcome is that there is a strong potential for phage therapy to work in this context. Such an application could be administered to patients via a nasal or oral spray. Further research will be undertaken to assess how this application might work in the wider clinical setting.
The research has been published in the journal Phage, with the paper titled "Bacteriophages Could Be a Potential Game Changer in the Trajectory of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)."
More about bacteriophages, Phages, phage therapy, Bacteria, Virus
 
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